Tag Archive | indian corn

Garden End of July

This spring was a rough start for my garden.  Right after I planted we had over a week of rain.  Many of the seeds must have just rotted in the ground.  I replanted the beans when only three sprouted and the second time got better results.  Slugs ate every one of my lettuce sprouts during the rain and something will not leave my basil alone.  Not sure if I will get any basil!

The mystery peas are doing the best of all the garden veggies.  The indian corn is also fairly happy with the frequent rain and hot days.  Lia is about 46″ tall.  The corn is well over her head and not tasseling yet.  Lia has discovered the joy of eating raw peas right off the vine.  She is very proud of the peas she helped plant.

Even the flowers I sowed in the garden did poorly this year.  I have a few zinnias and bachelor buttons, but not as good as previous years.  The rain was really hard on the seeds.  Beets and carrots suffered similarly.  The tomatoes are producing a few yummy fruits and the pumpkins that managed to sprout are coming along well.  The volunteers are all the sunflowers we have this year.  Not a single seed came up and I planted nearly 20.  Depressing.  Yet, the weeds always do so well.  Here are my first Early Girl tomatoes.

On a bright note, I saw a monarch butterfly on the 27th in the apple orchard when I was mowing.  Perhaps people’s efforts to plant milkweed are paying off.  This seems to be a good butterfly year, there are many varieties present in the gardens and on wild flowers.

What’s New in the Garden

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At the beginning of September, the weather still is in high summer mode.  Yesterday was nearly 90F with high humidity and today won’t be much cooler.  The garden plants are taking full advantage of these few remaining warm days, ripening their fruits and grains.  Today I will pick the wax beans and hope to get enough for dinner.  I leave the plants in the ground as long as they want to blossom.  They still produce some, just not the abundance of their main crop.

gar2The tomatoes are producing well.  I harvest them before they are completely ripe to stay ahead of rodent varmints that eat holes in the juicy red fruit.  Most of the foliage has disappeared from the tomatoes, I suspect hornworms have been at work.  They can strip the leaves overnight.  With the fruit so close to maturity, the foliage is not that important any more.

gar4I counted six big pumpkins ripening!  Plenty to fill our Halloween needs. The largest pumpkin must weigh about 15-20 lbs and is just starting to get an orange cast to the skin.  As temperatures cool the orange will spread quickly.

gar7gar8There are also winter squash, an acorn variety, and Jack-Be-Little miniature pumpkins coming along. It was a slow year for squash so there are less than usual. I planted seeds on the manure pile from a mutant squash that volunteered last year.  It was a cross of a pumpkin and summer squash.  Some fruit is visible, growing quickly.  Will have to wait and see what is produced.

gar6The Indian corn is loaded with large ears thanks to hot and humid days throughout much of July and August.  It looks to be a good harvest.  I will cut the corn in mid-September as soon as the ears ripen fully.

gar3I am happy to report three peppers grew! One has already been consumed–it was delicious.  This one is getting large and there is one more very small pepper coming along.  Next year I will grow peppers differently. They will be set closer together, better mulched and well watered during hot spells.

gar5The Jerusalem artichokes make a gorgeous display, all covered in yellow blossoms.  Here the horses graze the lawn in the background.  I am planning to move the artichokes from the garden.  They are too invasive and require excessive space.

From their humble beginnings as a few bare roots and stems pulled from an abandoned strip of grass near a stop sign in Waterville, these plants have become a major success story.  They will be established in an area that allows for their aggressive spreading.  I am convinced the plants emit chemicals into the soil that retard the growth of other plants.  Carrots growing within two feet of the artichokes are struggling.  This plant will hold it’s own against grass and weeds in a different part of the farm.

Another bright yellow, tall flowering plant, the sunflowers bloom in profusion.  They are visible in the background of the first photo.  Little birds visit the plants all day.  They clean the black oil seeds from the flower heads as quickly as they form.  The birds need this rich nutrition to get in shape for their long flight to warmer winter quarters.

Later today I will pick all the ripe or near ripe tomatoes and perhaps clip a few lovely zinna flowers for decorating the table.moth4

Garden 2015

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The garden this year went in about the same time as usual.  It was all planted by the second day of June.  We had lots of chilly, wet weather this spring so the planting was somewhat delayed.  I like to get the garden mostly done by the end of May.  Since I don’t plant many cool weather things like peas or radishes or broccoli, I don’t have to bother with April garden tilling.  This year would have been too wet to work the soil that early.

indian corn

indian corn

baby bib lettuce

baby bib lettuce

For plants I have indian corn, field pumpkins, mini-pumpkins, winter squash, carrots, Boston bib lettuce, sunflowers, tomatoes and sweet peppers.  Also put in marigolds, zinnias, strawflowers, and bachelor buttons.  Of course, the Jerusalem artichokes occupy one corner.

sunflowers

sunflowers

bachelor buttons

bachelor buttons

These photos were taken several days ago, right after the carrots sprouted.  Since then we have gotten more rain and a few warm, sunny days.  The sunflowers have nearly doubled in size since the pictures.  These sunflowers volunteered from seeds left in the garden last year.  I transplanted the seedlings to the edge of the garden before tilling.  They all survived nicely.  Many of the bachelor buttons are also volunteers from last year’s seed.  Some are now beginning to bloom.  I loved these flowers so much last year that I planted several more flower varieties to enjoy.  They go well with the vegetables and add some color to the garden.

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sweet peppers

This is the first year in some time that I have grown peppers.  These are sweet green, turning to red if left on the plant.  Right after I put the seedlings in the ground, something devoured most of the leaves on one plant. Not sure what did this.  There were no tracks so maybe a flying creature or something very small like a vole. Why just one plant?  I don’t know, but I’m glad they left the others alone.

wax bush beans

wax bush beans

The wax bush beans are struggling.  Since this photo, several more have sprouted.  I will have to replant some of the rows if I want many beans.

tomatoes

tomatoes

I planted six Early Girl tomatoes, my favorite variety.  They are growing well.  I have to mulch the tomatoes and peppers to improve their growth rate. Something I hope to do today.

It’s nice to have photos of the plants when they first start out.  As the garden develops I like to go back and look at how much the plants have grown.

Roadside Farm Stand

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There, I’ve got my little roadside farm stand of excess garden produce all set up and open for business.  So far, one sale.  It is a very nice day with temperatures in the 80s.  Most people are not likely to be thinking about buying fall decorations.

I’ll open the stand up on decent weather days when I’m around and once there is a chill in the air, more customers should stop.  Most years the farm stand is fairly profitable.  The pumpkins for Halloween carving and the dried corn stalks are always the most popular.  I only have a few of each so it won’t take too long to sell out.  There are so many extra gourds that most of those will probably go to the horses and chickens. They seem to enjoy eating them.

First Autumn Harvest

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The autumn harvest has begun!  I found eleven big field pumpkins in the garden this year, lots of small Jack-Be-Little pumpkins, several winter squash, and a great yield of indian corn.  Some of the squashes and corn are still ripening, phase two of the harvest will be in a few days.  The gourds are very plentiful.  h3I won’t know how many grew until I can get onto gourd mountain after the first frost kills back the leaves.  The strange hybrid crosses between squashes, gourds and pumpkins are providing plenty of excitement with their unusual shapes and colors.  h2All are gourds, meaning inedible, except the large flattish orange ones near the pumpkins in the photos may be good to eat.  I think they are a cross between pumpkins and winter squash.

The tomato jungle is still producing and I must pick tomatoes again.  A frost can not come too soon for the tomatoes as far as I’m concerned!  Also, it is time to pull the carrots.  Think I’ll have my 2-year-old granddaughter, Lia, help me with them tomorrow.  She loves to see the carrots come out of the ground.

September Garden

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Garden with second hatch (June 3) of Ameraucana chicks.

The Harvest moon has passed without a frost and the garden is still booming in September.  The fence has worked well so far this year.  No chickens or other undesirables in the garden.  Above, the 15 young chickens from the second hatch run by the garden with no thought of the juicy tomatoes and squash inside.

g10g8Things are beginning to wind down, the bean harvest is finally over.  I pulled the plants yesterday. We have 19 pints of wax beans put up for winter.  As I uprooted the bean plants I also weeded, and the area looks nice and neat.g11g7  My horses enjoy bean plants and were happy to provide their unique composting services. While the string beans produce one major harvest, and several smaller ones, they continue to bloom up until frost.  If left in the garden, enough beans for a meal form every week.  The winter squash plants are visible on the side of the photo to the right. They are nearly ready to pick.

g13g5Bachelor buttons are about done for the year. They were so pretty. The Jerusalem artichokes are in full bloom.  The heads of flowers are so heavy they weigh the tall plants down, causing them to lean.  Maybe I will proved them some support next year.  The sunflowers also are finally in bloom.  I lost one tall plant to high winds, snapped off at the base, so I have three plants.  All are yellow.  I was hoping for some orange or burgundy.  Oh well.

g3g4Indian corn has ripened and is now ready to harvest.  The husks of the ears are drying and shrinking back from the tops of the cobs.  Unfortunately this exposes the corn to hungry birds and insects so I must pick all the ears soon.

g12The tomato jungle continues to pump out fruit.  I can not keep up with production.  Many go to the chickens and horses, but that’s ok.  We have plenty of tomatoes in the freezer and all the fresh ones I can eat and give away to unsuspecting friends.  Most years I mulch the entire tomato patch with lawn clippings.  I never managed to finish the job this year.  The mulch is good for keeping dirt off the fruit and weeds down, so next year I will try harder to get this chore done on time.

g2The carrots have recovered from their second thinning and are growing nicely.  Harvest time is right around the corner for them.

g14Also ready for harvest are the pumpkins. We have 9 large field pumpkins, many tiny Jack-Be-Little pumpkins, but no pie pumpkins.  Those apparently failed this year.  The gourds on the mountain look to be a plentiful harvest.  I may have to open a little roadside stand on one fine weekend in October to unload some of the excess squashes and Indian corn.  We live on a high traffic road.  On a warm, sunny fall day sales can be brisk.g9

Garden News

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Things are growing right along in the garden.  The second bean planting is blooming.  This evening I harvested the first picking of beans and we ate them up for supper.DSC08497  In the photo above, the winter squash are in the foreground.  These are acorn squash. The carrots are behind them.

DSC08502The bachelor buttons are lovely.  I never did thin them, yet the plants are producing bunches of flowers. They last for about a week as cut flowers, so pretty.  I’m glad I decided to try growing these.  They are very easy to cultivate.

The Jerusalem artichokes are in the background of the photo at left. They are nearly ready to start blooming.  These plants are tenacious about sending out underground runners with new shoots.  Baby sunchokes even try to grow in the lawn outside the garden fence.  I have to work hard to keep them in their area.

Hot, humid weather with plenty of thunderstorm rain continues, encouraging the corn and cucurbits. Indian corn is well over my head, must be about seven feet tall.  The tassels are formed and the ear silks are ready to receive pollen.  On warm, still evenings, the scent of growing corn fills the garden.DSC08493

DSC08501Pumpkin and squash blooms attract wild honey and bumble bees in droves.  The insects crawl inside the huge flowers and seem to just lie there.  I wonder if there is so much nectar to gather that they rest while they suck it up.

All the pumpkins, squash and gourds are vining.  The plants grow so fast I have to keep on top of pointing the vines in the right directions so they don’t spread across the lawn or into the beans and tomatoes.DSC08494

The first nearly ripe tomato has been produced by the tomato jungle.  I pick the first fruits early and finish the ripening in the house so little rodents won’t steal my tomatoes.DSC08499  Mice or voles have been helping themselves to my beans, eating large portions of any pods near the ground.  For many years we had a canny in-and-outdoor cat who hunted the rodents in the garden and kept their numbers at bay.  She passed away a few years ago at age eighteen and we have yet to find a replacement barn cat.  The rodents have been working their way back into the garden ever since.  I will have to try to trap the little devils because they steal lots of tomatoes, beans, squash and even carrots.


Anniversary and Mid-July Garden

a3One year ago today I started this blog.  Happy anniversary to me!  Here are the first bachelor button flowers from my garden to help celebrate!

The garden is growing amazingly well.  I just completed the second major weeding yesterday, so let’s have a look at how things are going.  The indian corn is nearing six feet tall.a5  After the hurricane, much of the corn was knocked over.  I stood them back up, tamped the soil down at the bases and hoed dirt well up around the stalks.  The plants will develop a secondary root system higher on the stalks in the newly mounded soil to increase stability.  Such an early hurricane is unusual here and neither the corn nor I were prepared.  Now the corn is developing tassels and will soon flower.

In the right foreground of the photo to the right are the six wax bean plants that survived from the first planting. They are flowering and setting beans.  Our first bean feast is right around the corner!  The second bean planting is growing well.a2  The plants are looking a little yellow.  I’m going to side dress them with well-composted manure to see if they will green up a little.  To be effective, the manure will be worked into the soil on both sides of the row and then watered well.

a4Carrots are surging, they love the abundant moisture we have been receiving.  I will soon need to do the second thinning on them. The horses and bunnies can barely wait!  Most of the baby carrots are about half the thickness of a little finger at this point.  I may get some big enough for us to eat.

The weather has been mostly hot and humid, just what squash and pumpkins like best.  a6The field pumpkins are beginning to vine.  They will take over all the open space around them and then try to invade the tomatoes and corn.  I turn the vines back from the tomatoes, but let them grow among the corn rows. Pumpkins and corn thrive together.  In the background of the photo at right, three sunflowers are visible.  They will climb to ten feet or more in height.

The dwarf pumpkins, called Jack-Be-Little, have a mixed progress.  One hill is doing very well and the other hill is lagging.  a7I have no explanation for the disparity.  Both were planted at the same time in identical soil composition.  The slower hill took longer to sprout, as well.  These tiny pumpkins grow fast so there is still plenty of time for hill two to produce.

Finally, we come to the tomato jungle.  Conditions are thick.  I removed all the sucker growth I could find last week.  The plants have set lots of fruit and some is beginning to ripen.  I can hardly wait!a1a8Now we have to contend with the tomato hornworms, a real threat around here.  One day the plants look lovely, the next day areas will be stripped of leaves, the branches sticking up like winter trees. Close examination will reveal fat, green caterpillars as big as a finger busily consuming the leaves. These pests must be stamped out quickly before they destroy the crop.

The Jerusalem artichokes are forming flower buds.  A hill of winter squash thrives uphill from the corn.  The row of radishes is gone. Three good servings of radishes were produced.  What was left bolted to flower due to the heat so I pulled the plants and fed them to the horses.  My horses enjoy anything I give them from the garden.  I didn’t believe they would eat radish plants, but they gobbled them down.  They must be epicureans!

Fourth of July Garden Visit

Tomato jungle

Tomato jungle

Between the cloud bursts this Fourth of July, I took a quick trip to the garden to record the height of the corn and finish the first thinning of the carrots. The weeds are having a festival due to a week of high temperatures and humidity that kept me in the house. In a couple days I’ll put an end to the party with my Mantis tiller.

The tomatoes have grown into a veritable jungle. Last week I mulched around all the plants with a layer of seed-free new growth grass.  The mulch preserves moisture and discourages weeds right around the plant.  It’s time to remove the sucker growth that sprouts up in the angle of the tomato branches. If left on the plant, the suckers would form more flowers and fruit, but they are not necessary. The main branches are loaded with so many flowers and tiny tomatoes that the plants will need the rest of the summer to ripen what they have formed. Removing the suckers gives the plants more energy for this task.

The corn is waist high, mostly.  a2There are some shorter stragglers.  This corn crop promises to be very good. Let’s hope we don’t get any hail.  One quick thunderstorm with hail will destroy a garden.

a3Finally, beans!  Lots of nice plants sprouted and we can look forward to a good harvest and plenty of canned beans to go through the winter.  Beans from our garden are much more tasty than the store-bought variety.  A big bowl of fresh beans with a little butter and salt make a meal.

a1The last week of sun, 90 degree temperatures and high humidity gave all the plants a boost.  Most of the radishes are trying to bolt and flower.  I’ve harvested several nice servings of mild radishes.  Now, with a couple days of rain thrown at us by Hurricane Arthur as it passes nearby out at sea, the garden will take off.

The bachelor buttons have buds and will bloom soon.  I can hardly wait to fill a vase with their flowers!

In The Garden

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Got out my trusty little Mantis tiller and ran it through the vegetable garden to kill the first crop of weeds.  The Mantis came from a local auction for a very good price and it’s perfect for my needs.  In less than a half hour I can weed an area that would take several hours by hand.a2  With a bit of practice, the tiller can be driven very close to the garden plants with no danger.

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Radishes and six surviving bean plants

All the vegetables I planted are growing nicely with the exception of the wax beans.  Just as last year, the first planting failed.  It rained too much and the seed likely rotted in the ground.  Six bean plants survived from the first seeding.  I’ve replanted, there is still plenty of time for bush beans to mature.  Hopefully they will grow better this time around.

A free package of radishes was included with something I ordered this spring so I threw them in the garden and have already harvested some nice little radishes.  I plant early crops, like radishes and bush beans, in areas that will later be covered by pumpkin runners.  By the time the pumpkins are that large, the early crop will be harvested.

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Brandywine tomato

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Tomato planting

 

 

 

The tomatoes are looking great. There are six Early Girl plants and five Brandywine plants.  Early Girl has always been a star performer for me, maturing very early, sometimes yielding fruit by mid-July.  This variety has medium sized, very tasty, red fruit.  Brandywine is a first time plant for me this year.  An old variety now considered heirloom, this tomato produces large, somewhat irregular purple-red fruit that has an unbelievably delicious, sweet flavor.  Whenever I find Brandywine tomatoes in the market, I snap them up.  It will be fun to have some of my own.  This is a late maturing variety, requiring nearly three months.  I planted them the third week of May so I should get some fruit before frost.

The Indian corn is coming along very well.  It should be more than knee-high for the Fourth of July, knock on wood.  This starchy corn is not for fresh eating, but is beautiful for fall decoration and can be used as animal feed, ground into cornmeal, or even popped.a9  I like to place a cob in the microwave to pop then eat the popcorn right off the cob, yummy!

The pumpkins and squash took a while to sprout due to the extensive rain, but they are all growing nicely now.  I have field pumpkins for jack-o-lanterns, mini pumpkins for fall decorating, and acorn squash, a storage squash for winter eating.  a10I also planted a packet of gourd seeds on the horse manure pile and several of those have sprouted and are getting big. The largest threat to young cucurbits is insects, especially cucumber beetles and squash bugs.  They can quickly suck the life out of a young squash plant.  At the first sign of these bugs, I apply organic insecticide, or kill by hand any that I find.

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Bachelor Button

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Jerusalem artichoke

For some color and fun, I planted bachelor buttons.  These members of the carnation family make great cut flowers. The mix I planted has several different colors.  A bunch of seedlings have sprouted so I should have some nice flowers in a month or so.  The Jerusalem artichoke has emerged, stronger and more numerous that last year, their first year.  Members of the sunflower family, the sunchokes produce an edible tuber and lovely, yellow flowers that are great for cutting.

I also have several decorative sunflower plants sprouted.  These fast growing plants provide quantities of burgundy, orange and yellow flowers on tall stalks right through first frost.  The seeds are black oil type sought by song birds putting on energy for the long flight south in the fall.

The Siberian iris is coming into full bloom, with the purple slightly in advance of the yellow flowering plants.  The last few days, many yellow swallow-tail butterflies have been visiting the irises.  There must have been a hatch.a14a12a13